Seasoned coffee roaster Marty Lopes is exploring new turf with Terrain Coffee Project, which last month opened the doors to its first coffee shop in downtown Vancouver, Washington.
Standing on terrain that Lopes notes was first home to the Chinook people, the shop’s building dates back to the late 19th century.
“My goal in the space was not to transform it, but to utilize its historical beauty and capitalize on that experience for customers and guests by highlighting the aesthetic,” Lopes told DCN. “It’s a space with a really unique historical appeal, including a historic original bank vault and a courtyard shared with Kindred Homestead Supply.”
Beans roasted by Lopes on a 10-kilo Mill City Roasters machine in a facility in the Salmon Creek area of northern Vancouver are sold in 12-ounce bags online as well as in the shop, where straightforward espresso and brewed coffee drinks are prepared on a white Synesso S200 espresso machine and a Wilbur Curtis batch brewer.
The pioneer brick and natural wood on the inside meld with the bustle of the city through the front wall of windows, while the roasts and brews are crafted to highlight sensory connections with the places from which each coffee hails.
“I am looking for coffees that evoke the true taste of origin, something I can cultivate into a taste of place,” said Lopes. “My goal as a roaster is to honor and elevate the work of coffee producers by perfecting the roast; ultimately transferring that experience to the customer by flavor and aroma.”
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In 2018, the Terrain Coffee Project launched with the intent to grow first as a wholesale roasting business, though that plan evolved based on local demand and the ensuing pandemic.
“We had to change our model because of COVID, and tested the idea of retail by opening a walk-up window at the roastery,” Lopes told Daily Coffee News. “We also offered local delivery. The feedback we got from our devoted customers was, ‘So when is the brick and mortar happening?’ We were prompted to expedite our five-year plan.”
In 2013, Lopes launched the Roseline Coffee company in Portland, Oregon, before eventually leaving the brand and heading north across the Columbia River. Now, with a new business in an old building, Lopes looks forward to serving guests new and old alike.
“Roseline meant more to me than just a business. I poured my heart and soul into it,” said Lopes. “I believe when there is true integrity in your heart, that is what sustains loyalty among a staff, a brand and ultimately customers. That is what makes Terrain so special.”
Terrain Coffee Project is now open at 106 W. 6th Street in Vancouver, Washington. Tell us about your new coffee shop or roastery here.
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.